IKEA is coming to Ontario, with 330,000-square-foot store aimed at Meredith International Centre – Daily News

on Jul16
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Home furnishings giant IKEA has put the rumors to rest: It’s coming to Ontario.

The retailer known for its flat-pack boxes and hexagon wrenches has bought 19 acres of land in the 257-acre Meredith International Centre, where it plans to build a 330,000-square-foot store.

The site along Inland Empire Boulevard is part of a mixed-use development that includes industrial, multifamily, retail and auto dealership spaces.

“They are in the development review process, so a construction start time has not been established yet,” said Brad Gates, Ontario’s business operations director. “We have been in discussions with IKEA for quite some time, and we’re very excited that they selected Ontario as their location. We will continue to work closely with them to make sure they open as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

News of the retailer’s interest leaked in October 2018 after the city manager at a council meeting coyly revealed new signage rules and the IKEA logo for the mixed-use center.

The new store will create hundreds of new jobs for the city.

Ikea is relaunching a recall of 29 million chests and dressers after the death of a child attributed to one of the dressers tipping over. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Gates couldn’t verify the exact number of local jobs the massive store will create, as he was offsite Monday at a convention in Anaheim. But he said acknowledged it would be in the hundreds.

“These will be well-paying jobs with good benefits, and that is important,” he said. “They were looking at multiple sites in the Inland Empire.”

IKEA, which designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, pays an average hourly wage of $16.58, according to PayScale.com, although some positions pay considerably more. Forklift operators can make up to $21 an hour, PayScale said, while visual merchandisers top out at $28, and customer service team leaders can earn up to $30 an hour.

IKEA chose Ontario to get closer to customers who live farther away from its existing stores.

“We are in a rapidly changing retail environment,” the mega-retailer said in a statement. “To be fit for long-term growth, we are creating a new business model to make sure we’re accessible and convenient for our customers today and in the future. As a result, IKEA has purchased property in the Meredith International Centre.”

Other retailers in the center include QVC and Best Buy in addition to Infiniti and Audi auto dealerships. Porsche is also in the design review process to open a dealership there. The development also includes seven industrial buildings that are fully leased with 3.5 million square feet of space.

The Paseos at Ontario, the multi-family portion of the complex, is a private, gated community that has about 400 apartments but will total 800 when all of the units are built. The complex is across the street from the IKEA site.

California is one of IKEA’s prime markets. With eight stores across the Golden State, it has more locations here than any other state. Southern California stores are in Burbank, Carson, Covina, Costa Mesa and San Diego. The company also operates a Western North America Distribution center in Lebec along the 5 freeway, north of the Grapevine.

In the world of brick-and-mortar retail, IKEA is synonymous with “big.” And in early 2017 it unveiled a 456,000-square-foot store in Burbank that stands as the company’s largest U.S. location.

Chuck Noble, John Hatzis, and Dave Hunsaker of Lee & Associates Orange represented the seller, Craig Development Corp in the Ontario land transaction; Tony Beatty and Scott Burns of JLL represented IKEA.

The home furnishings company was founded in Sweden in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, who began by peddling useful items to neighbors on his bicycle. IKEA employs 208,000 workers worldwide and it generated nearly $43.7 billion in retail sales in its most recent fiscal year (September 2017-August 2018), according to the company’s website.

IKEA opened 19 new stores in 2018.

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